May 5, 2010
Greg Gattuso has served on Dave Wannstedt’s coaching staff at Pitt since 2005. Gattuso coaches one of the nation’s most productive defensive line units. He also serves as the assistant head coach. Before joining the Pitt staff, Gattuso spent 12 years building Duquesne University into one of the elite I-AA football programs in the country. The winningest coach in school history, the Dukes went 97-32 (.752) under his direction, won eight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) titles, made five bowl appearances and captured the 2003 consensus Mid-Major Division I-AA national championship. Gattuso was twice named the national Mid-Major I-AA Coach of the Year and was a seven-time MAAC Coach of the Year.
What is something you will harp on during August practice?
I think it’s going to be important to emphasize counter moves with our pass rush. Last year, our defensive line was very productive in getting to the quarterback. It’s going to be important to do that again this season. We some of our guys, we’ll give them one more move to put in their hip pocket. I’d like for each of our guys to have a speed move, a power move, and a really improve on a counter move during August practice.
What is something you really like that your head coach implements at practice?
That’s easy. Our physicality at practice….Coach Wannstedt makes our practices a challenge to get through. There is no question in my mind that our physical play has become an advantage for us. The second thing about Coach Wannstedt that I certainly like is his obsession with situations. We practice situational football in more ways that you can possibly imagine. It really helps our coaching staff and our players.
Pitt defensive line coach Greg Gattuso
What is unique about working with your coordinator Phil Bennett?
One thing that makes Phil unique is his terrific use of motivational tactics. They are different. He really thinks outside the box to deliver a message to our defensive squad. Phil puts in a good amount of time, uses some things that are not standard. His Friday night message to the defense is something a lot of us look forward to. The other thing that is unique is that each defensive position coach talks to the entire defense during the week.
How long is your drive to work from your house?
I’m about 6 miles, so it takes 15 minutes.
In season, which day of the week besides Saturday do you look forward to the most?
Sunday. I enjoy watching the game film with the players. I really think you can use that time to get better. To me, it’s important to be positive. It’s important to point out the techniques that your players are using. When the players see for themselves exactly why they are being successful, I think they enjoy it as well.
Outside of work, what is the 1 thing you really enjoy about living in Pittsburgh?
This area is home for me. My family is all close by. I’m four miles from my brother. We’ve always lived in the area and thus we have a great group of friends here.
During your vacation break this summer, what do you plan to do? Any trips planned?
We’ll go to Stone Harbor (NJ) or the beach. Most of the time, I do like to get to the beach during are few weeks off in the summer.
Everyone has been around a GA that busts his tail. As a full-time coach, who is the best GA you have ever worked with? Why was he so good to work with? What’s he doing now?
Our current defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley was once our defensive grad assistant here at Pitt. As a grad assistant, Jeff’s work ethic was terrific. He was always here and you should have seen some of Power Points he could put together. I always thought Jeff had the personality and attitude to do really well. Now, he is our defensive backs coach and we all think great things of Jeff.
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